standards-australia

Calling urban design specialists

Consult Australia have been nominated to join the Standards Australia Committee on Urban Green Infrastructure Framework – Design, Implementation, Valuation and Maintenance. Standards Australia draws together key stakeholders with technical expertise to develop and review Australian Standards. We are seeking a member to represent is on this technical committee. Your role would include preparing the standard, project direction, review of existing standards including international standardisation activities, supporting the Project Manager, risk management, problem solving, evaluation of project deliverables including benefits and budgets and providing recommendations. Consult Australia welcomes expressions of interest from our membership to nominate for the position. Please contact Nicola Grayson if you are interested together with a copy of your CV by close of business 23 April 2021.  

9 April 2021

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Mental Health Submission

Consult Australia has contributed to the Inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Our submission responds to the recommendations on Mentally Healthy Workplaces put forward by the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report. We address topics including workplace health and safety laws and codes of practice, worker’s compensation findings and recommendations, employee assistance providers, and disseminating information on workplace interventions.

9 April 2021

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Migration Submission

Our submission to the Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program was addressed in two parts with the first covering the terms of reference 1-2, the second covering the terms of reference 3-6 of the inquiry. Our recommendations focus on reforms to the age threshold, short stay skilled migration visas, labour-market testing requirements, the SAF levy, visa costs, the ANZSCO list, and the Global Talent Employer Sponsored Program, as well as the re-introduction of the Industry Outreach Officer Initiative and an evaluation of the National Skills Commission Skills Priority List.

9 April 2021

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Loss of independence with Building Queensland move

The Queensland government’s proposal to move Building Queensland within the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning is currently before parliament as part of the Debt Reduction and Savings Bill 2021. Consult Australia opposes the move, noting that the cost saving of $1 million by the move is a valuable investment in infrastructure independence.

9 April 2021

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Tapping into Australia’s Services Exports Potential

The Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, have developed the Services Export Action Plan which seeks to tap into Australia’s service exports potential. The plan outlines five strategic outcomes tailored to drive Australia’s global market competitiveness and incorporate more sectors in the services industry beyond tourism and international education. For more information visit the plan website.

April 2021

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Call for nominations for the NATSPEC Board

NATSPEC is a national not-for-profit organisation that is owned by the design, build, construct and property industry. NATSPEC’s objective is to improve the construction quality and productivity of the built environment through leadership of information. It produces comprehensive construction specification system endorsed by government and professional bodies. NATSPEC, the National Building Specification, is for all building structures with specialist packages for architects, building designers, interior designers, landscape architects, structural engineers, service engineers and domestic owners. Consult Australia would welcome expressions of interest from our membership to nominate for one of the Board positions of NATSPEC available that their upcoming election of Board Directors. Please contact Nicola Grayson if you are interested together with a copy of your CV by close of business Thursday 8 April 2021.

April 2021

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melbourne-water

The value of water

The International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) has released a supplementary report to the Time to $Tn-vest which focuses on the value of water and the world’s current and future water challenges. The report, Establishing the value of water – the business case for change, will be launched during an online event on Thursday 1 April 2021 (9pm AEDT or 12pm Zurich time).

March 2021

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The Indigenous Voice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are seeking support to have more of a say on the laws, policies and services that impact them, their communities and their lives. A group of 52 Australians, mostly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, have been working on developing a proposal for an Indigenous Voice and how that might work. The interim report outlines the proposal for an Indigenous Voice, and individuals, communities and organisations are invited to provide their feedback through the online survey.

March 2021

Property tax reforms

NEW POLICY PAPER - UNLOCKING STIMULUS FROM PROPERTY TAX REFORMS

We have released a new policy paper which highlights our call on Australian governments to investigate and include property tax reforms as part of their longer-term response to COVID-19 economic impacts.

Our paper was developed through a SME member working group, and is in response to our Industry Health Checks in 2020 which highlighted member services relating to private sector investments and the building industry as hardest hit by the pandemic.  

24 March 2021

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OVERLAPPING REGULATION EXAMPLES

We have received a request from Ben Morton, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for real life examples of where businesses face unnecessary overlapping regulations and regulatory compliance activities. Are there situations where the Commonwealth and state/territory jurisdictions ask for similar information or approvals? If so, contact Kristy and let her know, so she can feed the information back.

22 March 2021

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Striving for Mentally Healthy Workplaces

Recognition for our Mental Health Knowledge Hub

Consult Australia is delighted to report that our Mental Health Knowledge Hub is to be featured as a case study by the National Mental Health Commission as part of their National Workplace Initiative. The initiative is currently in the planning phase and once complete will an provide evidence-based how-to framework for implementing workplace mental health strategies.

18 March 2021

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NSW and Victorian Treasuries Procurement Reform Initiatives

Consult Australia has been briefed on the draft procurement reform initiatives that the Treasuries of NSW and Victoria will seek to implement to address some of the ongoing problems being experienced across the industry. Importantly these will include proposal to update and develop Treasury guidance on infrastructure procurement and delivery and development of a suite of standard contract deeds. However, it was noted that governments’ devolved responsibility for project delivery makes compliance and standardisation across agencies an ongoing challenge, which has yet to be addressed.

18 March 2021

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Construction Industry Culture Taskforce and Gender Diversity

The Consult Australia Champions of Change invited Jon Davies, CEO of the Australian Constructors Association (ACA) to talk about the aims of the Construction Industry Culture Taskforce (CICT) in relation to gender diversity. The CICT has developed a draft Culture Standard which includes a diversity component that places requirements on government clients and contractors to target diversity, create inclusive workplaces, and eliminate pay disparity. The Champions discussed the progress made in changing culture in the consulting industry and how we might share what is working to drive greater diversity through the Champion’s programme and broader Champions of Change Coalition network.

18 March 2021

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Defence releases new 2021 head contract

The Department of Defence has just released its new 2021 head contract for facilities work. We have had extensive engagement with the Department and are pleased to report that the contract includes improvements to fitness for purpose and consequential loss. While the contract also includes a cap on liability as standard, this comes with significant exclusions including insurance proceeds. Consult Australia is pleased to see some progress but will continue engagement with Defence particularly relating to insurance requirements.

18 March 2021

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Striving for Mentally Healthy Workplaces

JobMaker Hiring Credit

The Federal Government has introduced the JobMaker Hiring Credit providing a pathway for businesses to recruit additional employees between the age of 16-35 years.

Access to the credit is currently restricted to employee’s hired between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. To find out if your business is eligible to apply click here.

16 March 2021

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The cost of addressing the climate challenge

What will it cost to address the growing climate emergency as well as recover from the impacts of COVID-19? According to the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) the price is $7 trillion per year. Learn more about the proposal to improve global infrastructure spending by reading FIDIC’s Time to STn-vest.

14 March 2021

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ASBFEO Tax

CALLS TO REFORM ATO TREATMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has just released a new report on the treatment of small business by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The report: A tax system that works for small business calls for reforms to how the ATO treats small business, noting that small businesses collectively owe $21 billion in debt to the ATO.

In a media statement on the report, Kate Carnell said:

The ATO rightly took a softer approach towards small businesses during the COVID crisis, but we don’t want to see a return to the extreme enforcement actions my office brought to light just a couple of years ago.

Previous actions such as garnishee notices have crippled small businesses, so it is critical the ATO uses its powers proportionately and appropriately, particularly as small businesses work to get back on their feet.”

Consult Australia supports the calls by the Ombudsman.

3 March 2021

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ACCC Small Business in Focus

Twice a year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) releases a Small business in focus report summarising ACCC activities in the small business sector. The latest report includes information on an engineering company found to be unilaterally increasing payment times from 30 days to 60 days for its small business suppliers. Take a read! 

5 March 2021

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COVID-19 vaccine

Consult Australia is working with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to consider the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia and the impacts on businesses and the workplace. Members have already raised concerns with us about getting access to building sites for inspections and how to protect their workforce. Members can download ACCI COVID-19 Vaccine Guide 2021 here. Keep checking back here for updates.

16 February 2021

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IA's Capacity and capability project

Jonathan Cartledge, Director of Policy and Research at Infrastructure Australia (IA) joined our People and HR Roundtable this week to provide a briefing on their capacity and capability project.

The project follows analysis on the infrastructure market’s capacity to deliver Australia’s record pipeline of infrastructure investment to support our country’s growing population. It has been agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), that IA should collaborate with jurisdictions and peak bodies to monitor the industry’s market capacity to help inform government policies and project pipeline development. This project will consider both supply and demand and will result in an annual market capacity report.

16 February 2021

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International standards for water damage and mould

Do you work with the ME-052 portfolio of Australian Standards? If so you may have a view on the proposal to adopt the following:

  • ANSI/S500 standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration
  • ANSI/S520 standard for Professional Mould Remediation.

The argument in favour of adoption is that both are considered de-facto international standards and best practice. Standards Australia has asked whether Consult Australia supports the adoption of these standards in Australia. Please contact Kristy by 1 March 2021 to share your views.

16 February 2021

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AS3995-1994 - Proposal to revise

Do you work with Australian Standard 3995-1994 Design of Steel Lattice Towers and Masts? There is a proposal to revise the standard and Standards Australia needs to know if we support this revision. The argument in favour of revision is that AS3995-1994 needs to be modernised to align with the most recent research and revisions of the AS1170 series and with the ongoing developed and updated international codes. This will ensure that the Australian tower industry benefits of innovation and have prominence on the international stage. Please contact Kristy to share your views. 

9 February 2021

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Federal Budget 2021-22

See our submission on Federal Treasury's consultation on the 2021-22 Budget. Our input seeks to emphasise the importance of infrastructure and built environment projects for improving our economic prosperity and providing valuable links for people and goods - particularly in the context of our COVID-19 recovery. We outline a list of practical recommendations around our '4Ps'' and highlight how these can ensure our industry is playing a key role in Australia's comeback from COVID-19 impacts.

5 February 2021

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Contracts

Migration Program 2021-22

See our submission on the Department of Home Affairs' consultation on the framework for the permanent migration system and caps for related visa types. We call for the overall cap to be increased back to 190,000 visas, and we also outline practical ways to ensure the system is more responsive to business demands - improving the SAF levy and increasing the age threshold for high income earners are two examples.

5 February 2021

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Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Public Consultation

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) is inviting industry to answer the question, ‘What do Australian small businesses need in 2021?’ Your input will be used by ASBFEO to advocate for further COVID-19 relief and assistance from Government and big business. Have your say via the public consultation.

29 January 2021

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Future of Infrastructure Delivery in Australia - Survey

How can we improve the state of the infrastructure sector in the future? Infrastructure Australia is preparing an Australian Infrastructure Plan for 2021 and invites industry leaders to contribute to the infrastructure policy reform recommendations by participating in a nation-wide research survey. Have your say – responses are due Friday 26 February.

27 January 2021

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payment

NSW pilots faster payments for small sub-contractors

Under a new pilot scheme to run until June 2021 small business sub-consultants can expect faster payment times from larger businesses that contract with some NSW government clients. Noting that direct contractors get paid by the government within 5 days, the pilot will require contractors to pay sub-contractors within 20 business days. It is hoped the pilot will lead to a NSW government wide policy. Read more here.

27 January 2021

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NSW Government

Partner with the NSW Government to host a trainee

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The NSW Government has designed a new traineeship in the infrastructure industry for Year 12 school leavers. The two year government funded program will see candidates combine NSW Government and industry experience to develop a rounded view of the infrastructure sector as a whole.

The traineeship is office-based, where each candidate will spend 8 month rotations to gain exposure to the broader industry, understanding the important role of each partner and organisation in the successful delivery of public infrastructure. Trainees will study 1 day per week to complete a Cert III or Cert IV in courses such as project management and procurement, and will experience placements in Business, Project Management, Procurement, Surveying and Conservation.

The NSW Government is seeking support from contractors and consultants to partner and host trainees, particularly those with regional offices in Penrith, Wollongong, Grafton, Dubbo, Parkes, Lismore, Wagga and Newcastle. This is a great opportunity to further your commitment to supporting NSW's young people and provide career pathways into infrastructure for the future of our industry and the next generation of school leavers.

Read our flyer for more information.

Register today!

Watch the video >> (https://youtu.be/intnTEK7pmA)  

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flood

Australian Building Codes Board Survey

How can our building codes better respond to future climate impacts and extreme weather events? The Australian Building Codes Board is working with counterparts in the USA, Canada and NZ on this question, and is seeking feedback from industry stakeholders through a survey.  Your feedback will help inform international guidelines on integrating evolving climate risks in building codes.  Have your say – responses are due Friday 12 February.

22 January 2021

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Upcoming member sessions

We are looking forward to speaking to members at two upcoming ‘drop in’ videocalls. An introduction on our services for new members is on 1 Feb from 5pm to 6pm (AEDT), and our next SME Open Forum is on 3 Feb at the same time where we are keen to hear feedback on current challenges facing your business.  Let Karen know if you are keen to attend one or both of these sessions.

20 January 2021

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Victoria’s Construction Supplier Register

Many of our members are currently experiencing issues with pre-qualification requirements relating to the directors of businesses under Victoria’s CSR – see our members only brief on the issue here. We are urging prompt action from the government to address this unnecessary impact on our members. Let James know if your business is impacted or to hear more about our current campaign.

20 January 2021

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Skills Priority List and Skilled Migration Program Consultations

We are using data from our recent member survey on skill shortages to highlight our industry’s key workforce challenges in upcoming submissions on the Australian Government’s reviews on national skills need and the caps for different visa types. Let James know if you have any feedback on these reviews – both are due over the next few weeks.

20 January 2021

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Striving  for Mentally Healthy Workplaces

Wrap up on our tender deadlines campaign

We have concluded another successful annual campaign on tender blackout periods over the end of year break. Many government agencies around the country agreed to delay their deadlines, and this helped ensure more people could spend time relaxing and recharging over the break. We thank many across industry for their support through similar initiatives.

20 January 2021

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Consultation on national automatic deemed registration law

In line with our advocacy for 'one fee, one registration' nationally for engineering registration, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet have developed amendments to the Mutual Recognition Act 1992. This will allow 'automatic deemed registration' for occupational licences and registration - so your registration in QLD will be automatically recognised in any other state that requires similar registration. We are concerned about the narrow application of the law to engineers - because QLD is currently the only jurisdiction will engineering registration. Kristy needs your help, especially if you are a registered engineer under the QLD scheme but you do not live in QLD. Consultation closes 12 February 2021, so please contact Kristy ASAP.

19 January 2021

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computers

SUBMISSION ON NSW BUILDING REFORMS

Thank you to members who assisted in the development of our submission to the NSW Government's draft Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2020. We have significant concerns about the insurance aspects and the disproportionate impact on consultancy businesses. We continue our work with the government, the Insurance Council of Australia and other industry stakeholders to ensure the regulation is workable for the government's start date of 1 July 2021.

19 January 2021

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Considering social impacts in infrastructure business cases

See our new report on the importance of considering social impacts in infrastructure business cases. We highlight that the time is right to increase our focus on social value of new infrastructure. These investments can deliver more community benefits when we think about social impacts, both positive and negative, during the early stages of projects.

3 December 2020

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Uplifting productivity through best practice procurement

Read our new report on uplifting productivity and delivering economic growth through best practice procurement. This report demonstrates what can be done to maximise the economic benefits of government stimulus by embracing best practice procurement practices that have been nominated by our members from past projects.

26 November 2020

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2020-21 Victorian State Budget

See our summary of the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget here (members only). Infrastructure and attracting more investments in the built environment were key themes in this year's budget. It was also positive to see a focus on new projects, in addition to the fast-tracking of existing projects. We also released a media statement in support of the budget - it can be viewed here.

25 November 2020

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STAY INFORMED

Don't forget to check the state/territory news pages for the latest on local issues including government engagement, reforms and priorities; ACT, NSW, NT, QLDSA, TAS, VIC, WA.

Also, stay informed of the latest priorities and opportunities to participate in our roundtables and working groups.

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